Dr. Percy Pierre

Career Highlights

Michigan State University: December 1995-2005


Creates and manages programs for the recruitment and support of domestic engineering graduate students.


Taught undergraduate and graduate courses and participated in research in the areas of signals and systems, random processes, and sign al detection and estimation. Created and managed the Sloan Engineering Program, the GE Faculty for the Future Program, the Enabling Technologies for Micro and Nano Engineering Systems Program, and other programs to increase the number of domestic engineering graduates at the master’s and doctoral levels with an emphasis on underrepresented groups.   

Michigan State University: September 1990 to December 1995


Helped increase the acquisition of federal support for research and education by 30% above inflation to $106 million in FY 95. Growth had remained at inflation levels during the eighties, which was significantly below the rate of growth at other Big Ten Universities. I directed the development and implementation of the strategy for increasing federal research awards by seeking large research center grants. A Food Safety/Toxicology Center grant totaling $25 million was planned, received and managed by my office. This was the largest federal facilities grant ever received by Michigan State University (MSU). In addition, my office provided leadership in developing winning proposals for three multi-million dollar National Science Foundation center grants. MSU was one of the successful universities in the 1993 Technology Reinvestment Program receiving two major grants from the Department of Defense. Over the last four years, proposals developed by my office or with its direct assistance brought over $40 million to MSU.

Modernized and expanded institutional support for research and graduate studies through the creation of an autonomous Graduate School, an Office of Intellectual Property and an Office of Intellectual Integrity.

Provided leadership in national and state research and development forums and helped MSU stay abreast of national trends and opportunities. I represented MSU on the boards of directors of three regional research and development centers: i.e. the Michigan Biotechnology Institute, the Consortium for International Earth Science Information Network (served as chairman of the board), and the Industrial Technology Institute.

Prairie View A&M University:  January 1983 to June 1989


Provided leadership to Prairie View A&M University, a part of the Texas A&M University System, with an operating budget of approximately $65 million. As a comprehensive land-grant university, it provided education, research and extension services on a national level.

Worked for the passage of an amendment to the Texas Constitution designating Prairie View A&M University as an institution of the "first class" and giving it access to the Permanent University Fund for academic excellence in November 1984. This provided an additional $12 million per year to upgrade academic programs. With this support, I established the Benjamin Banneker Honors College, enrolling 250 nationally recruited high school scholars annually, increased the overall Scholastic Aptitude Test  scores of freshman class by over 120 points from 1983-1987, and increased enrollment by 26% to 5600 in 1988-1989.

Obtained $65 million from state sources for a construction program to redesign the campus into a pedestrian pattern and to add six major buildings, including a landmark new library. I raised endowment funds and achieved a 500% increase in endowment funds from $600,000 in FY 84 to $3,000,000 in FY 89.

Percy A. Pierre & Associates:  January 1981 to January 1983


Provided analysis, planning and technical management consultation to clients in the private and public sector in the areas of research, development and engineering education.

Advised technology companies and research organizations, including Westinghouse, Raytheon, and the Center for Naval Analyses in the area of research and development planning. Work included classified and proprietary consultation on both military and civilian research and development planning. I provided consultation in Engineering Education including curriculum design for two universities and two public school systems.  I designed the initial curriculum for new engineering programs at Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, FL, and Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD. I created a high school engineering curriculum for a new High School for the Engineering Professions at Scotlandville High School, East Baton Rouge School District, Baton Rouge, LA, and a similar new program at  Dunbar High School, Washington, DC.

Department of the Army:  May 1977 to January 1981


Responsible for developing and managing policies, programs and budgets for the acquisition of Army weapon systems.  Programs included research, development and production tha were funded at $12 billion in FY 1981. Additional responsibilities included supervising all Army contracting activities, developing and managing international cooperative programs, implementing foreign military sales, and gaining Congressional approval of the R&D and Procurement budgets.

Managed project directors who managed development of most of currently fielded major weapons systems. These included the Patriot long-range air defense missile system, the M1 Abrams tank, the Bradley fighting vehicle, and the Stinger short range air defense missile system.  As the Acquisition Executive of the Army, I was responsible for managing these programs to meet or exceed performance goals and cost targets. I also had supervisory responsibility over the cost and operational effectiveness studies needed to prove the success of programs to the Office of the Secretary of Defense and Congress.  Where appropriate, I initiated new programs or major changes in existing programs in order to achieve technical goals or cost effectiveness. I was responsible for initiating the following technical design efforts: an upgrade of the M1 Abrams tank to include new armor and armament; the redesign of the tail section of the Apache attack helicopter; the upgrade of the computer software of the Patriot air defense missile system; the design of a scout helicopter with a mast-mounted electronic sight.
Won approval from the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Congress for funding increase for basic and applied research, from $496 million in FY 1977 to $635 million in FY 1981. I negotiated and/or supervised negotiations for agreements with Germany, the United Kingdom, and Egypt, resulting in formal Memoranda of Understanding with the US Government.

Won an excellence award from the Office of Senator Proximire for the best and clearest Congressional Statement in support of the Army's Research, Development and Acquisition budgets, 1979.

Howard University:  April 1971 to May 1977


Designed and introduced an innovative program in Urban Systems Engineering.  This program was one of twelve nationally to win support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation as a pilot program to bring engineering expertise to urban problems. Other accomplishments include the introduction of a graduate level Computer Science Program; a six-year professional accreditation term for three undergraduate programs; a six-fold increase in external research funding from government and industry between 1971 and 1977; the introduction of doctoral programs in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering; solicitation of over $1 million in support of educational programs in the School of Engineering; and the development of a multi-million dollar solid state electronics research program which is still operating at more than $1 million per year. 

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation:  July 1973 to 1975

PROGRAM OFFICER (on one/half time leave from Howard University)

Was the principal program architect of the national minority engineering effort, which has been called the most successful minority higher education program over the last thirty years. I organized, funded, and managed a study entitled "Minorities in Engineering: A Blueprint for Action" in 1974, which served as a guide to the entire national effort and created a strategy that facilitated the implementation of successful programs. The Foundation committed $15 million over five years to the minority engineering effort. Since the problem was much larger than what could be handled with funds available from Sloan, my primary accomplishment was formulating minority engineering support programs that would attract continuing funding from other sources. Organizations and programs created or expanded include:

  • National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME), New York, NY:  currently raising $4 million per year for minority scholarships.

  • GEM, South Bend, IN: currently raising $4 million per year for minority graduate students in engineering located at the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN.

  • The High School for the Engineering Professions, Houston, TX: supported by the Houston Independent School System.

  • Southeastern Consortium for Minorities in Engineering (SECME): Atlanta, GA: located at Georgia Institute of Technology and working with high school teachers throughout the South.

  • Expanded the Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement (MESA) program located at Oakland Tech, in Oakland, CA. The improved program was used as a model to replicate throughout California.  Today, it operates in four states.

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